Mock Trial takes objection to second place

Photo by Louise Berlanger

Morro Bay High’s mock trial team has worked diligently to prepare for their recent competitions. Last year they were runners up and this year they are out for vengeance. Mr. Waldman, the mock trial coach, plan to lead this year’s team to victory. Last week and this week, they competed in a series of trials against other schools in the district at the San Luis Obispo County courthouse. Morro Bay is the only team in the county to field two teams in the competition this year. The Black Team, led by Elsey Ruane, Lilah Green, Astrid Barnett Davis, Louis Berlanger, Maggie Appel, and Jocelyn Ocampo Martinez currently have a 1-2 record. The Blue Team, led by Madeleine Alvarez, Orion Rea, Eli Waldman, Rhys Demarest, and Karen Lun, are undefeated with a 3-0 record. Most students at Morro Bay don’t understand exactly what mock trial is. Wafa Bhatti, a mock trial member, commented, “Mock trial is a club that simulates a court case and you basically have to put yourselves in the shoes of some sort of legal role.” Orion Rea, another member of the mock trial team, added “Mock trial is basically an imitation of a trial.” Orion went on to add, “mock trial will give you public speaking skills and critical thinking skills.”

The team has a lot of different members, some have been doing mock trial for four or five years and, for some, it is their first year experiencing what mock trial is like. “This is my fourth year doing mock trial” says Orion Rea. Like Orion, it is Angie Molina’s fourth year doing mock trial and she is still fully invested in it. Unlike Orion and Angie, it is Wafa Bhatti’s first year doing mock trial and she is excited because she “has improved since (the) last scrimmages.” Even Mr. Waldman has been coaching mock trial for three years. They might have been in mock trial for different amounts of time, but they are all working very hard on becoming champions. 

Everyone would be nervous for a competition, but the team is as ready as they ever will be. Since it’s her first time back in person since COVID-19 hit, Angie is nervous because she doesn’t want to “get really mumbled.” Orion comments that there is “always a ton of nerves and a ton of excitement” during competitions. Considering it is Wafa’s first time being in a competition, she is “nervous to prove (herself) as a member of the team.” Everyone on the team is feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement for the first in person competition since COVID-19 hit. 

In a normal, in person competition, two schools go head to head in a courtroom and every member of the team “are scored based on their performance.” says Orion. On a competition day, the team heads “into the courthouse, and just make sure (they have) done the best (they) can to present (the) case and try to win.” states Angie. Competition days are long and Orion comments, “basically go for three hours, take a quick break, and then go for another three hour trial.” On competition days, the hours are long, but the team stays driven throughout the trial process.   

 Mock trial gives students many important skills that can be used later in life. Wafa says that mock trial gives you “public speaking and critical thinking” skills. Like Wafa, Orion believes that mock trial can “give you public speaking skills and critical thinking skills, argumentative skills, and a lot of think on your feet argument.” Angie went on to say that mock trial has taught her how to “defend something and basically create an argument.” Mock trial has helped so many students at Morro Bay High discover what careers they want to do in the future. Many students that are in mock trial want to pursue their dreams of becoming lawyers, like Wafa and Orion. Morro Bay has such a strong community and, as Orion said, “Morro Bay isn’t the best in the county at anything, but we are hopefully going to be the best in the county at mock trial this year.”

Both teams have the finals coming up but they are ready for whatever comes their way. Morro Bay Will face itself as the blue team and black team face off in direct competition on Thursday February 9th. Finals are taking place next week, so wish both teams luck as they labor to the top.

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